Words and photo by Ashlynn Thompson

The Facts

Performance: Kent Keyboard Series: A shining season of artistry
Guest Artist: Eduardus Halim
Venue: Carl F. W. Ludwig Recital Hall, Center for Performing Arts
Presenter: Hugh A. Glauser School of Music
Performance Dates: April 9
Runtime: 1 hour 30 minutes

Summary

Renown pianist Eduardus Halim performs in the finale of the 2016-2017 Kent Keyboard Series.  He was a piano prodigy and studied at the Juilliard School and under many mentors, including the legendary classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz.  In this performance, Halim plays works by celebrated composer Frédéric Chopin with vigor and passion.  These works include Polonaise, Opus 26, No. 2, Nocturne, Op. 48, No. 1, Nocturne, Op. 55, No. 2, Études, Op. 10, No. 1-12 and Études, Op. 25, No. 1-12.  One notices the urgency, sorrow, joy and other myriad of emotions expressed in this stunning performance by Halim.

Why this is worth seeing … or not

This can be a very emotional experience.  The way in which Halim masterfully varies his intensity on the keys, from soft and melancholy to loud and urgent, not to mention the genius compositions by Chopin, leaves one feeling a mix of intense emotions.  Arguably, the best performances make an audience feel something deeply, which is why this performance is definitely worth seeing.  However, it is quite long and could have been an hour and still achieved the same effect.

Musical compositions

The production is very wide-ranging. No piece has the same intensity or feeling, which allows the audience to experience a diverse body of work by Chopin.  The performance begins with a gentle playing of the keys only to grow louder and more aggressive as it progresses.  The intensity fluctuates like this throughout the performance.  One’s mind could wander whilst listening to a softly played melody only to be jolted back to reality with a loud and demanding note.  The diversity of the musical compositions effectively makes the audience listen and feel the emotions of the melodies in every piece.

The pianist

An audience member can notice right away the passion Eduardus Halim brings when he touches the keys.  His hands fly across the length of the keyboard with deft mastery and he plays with exaggerated movements as his fingers vigorously hit every key, something singular to great pianists.  Unbelievably, he played the entire performance without the aid of sheet music.  Memorizing and performing 27 pieces made me have even more respect for this incredible artist.

Final Thoughts

For those wanting to experience the passion that Eduardus Halim brings to music and the beautiful pieces by Frédéric Chopin, you will not be disappointed.  While it was a little too long to sit through, it was worth it to hear these two virtuosos.  I challenge my readers to have the emotional experience that comes with professional live music, which makes its audience feel without the aid of speaking or flashy elements of production that usually accompanies more popular plays and musicals.

Ashlynn Thompson is a freshman majoring in fashion merchandising and minoring in French in Kent State’s Honors College. She has a passion for the performing arts and has acted for years.  In 2016, she directed the play “The Matchmaker” and also plotted the lighting, scenic and costume design.  In addition to writing performing arts reviews for The Burr, Thompson interns for the fashion blog website CollegeFashionista, participates on the Programming Board for Black United Students and will serve as Secretary for the Fashion Student Organization for the 2017/18 school year. Thompson looks forward to bringing her critical eye to the Kent State performing arts scene.